Do extra-curricular activities actually matter on application forms? Watch

planetearth
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Many people I know have been getting involved in extra-curricular activities in order to boost their applications to University.

We are also pressured at school to do this because it makes us more "rounded" individuals and apparently boosts our chances of getting into universities.

But does it really make a difference?

Surely what actually matters is how good you are at the course you are applying for, and how much enthusiasm and dedication you have for it.

EDIT: OK, well I personally want to apply for a Physics course at University, but I can't really think of any activities that would matter or help me in that respect.
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tailschao
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Well, I can certainly tell you that being capable of using a search function will increase your chances of Oxbridge by a minimum of 37%.
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spazman21
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It DOES NOT matter one bit.... honestly, they don't care AT ALL - don't bother.

On the other hand, if you were applying to American unis, like I am, then it would matter a lot.
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JustLau
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I believe it goes something like this (though anyone feel free to add/correct: it shows a university that you have more to offer than just your academics, and that you will be happy there - someone who has few interests will make few friends and may be more likely to drop out as a result.

Of course, if you are an incredible student then you won't need to do this (my chemistry teacher - the only true genius I've ever met) told us about a guy who filled less than half the personal statement allowance, and got into Oxford plus other places. He was straight to the point, and only talked about his subject, but was absolutely impressive. Few can do that though.
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planetearth
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(Original post by tailschao)
Well, I can certainly tell you that being capable of using a search function will increase your chances of Oxbridge by a minimum of 37%.
I did, and I couldn't find a thread specifically made on this subject.

Plus it doesn't hurt to add fresh and updated material.
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AtomicMan
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I don't think the top universities care that much about your time at the girls scouts or how you tried to save a monkey in the congo. Passion for the subject should pull you through

Unless its like medicine, where you must experience roles of a medic and show the ability to care
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The Stig
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Everyone chats waffles when it comes to that. Write what you want. It's not like they'll check and ask for proof of your activities...
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im so academic
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(Original post by planetearth)
Many people I know have been getting involved in extra-curricular activities in order to boost their applications to University.

We are also pressured at school to do this because it makes us more "rounded" individuals and apparently boosts our chances of getting into universities.

But does it really make a difference?

Surely what actually matters is how good you are at the course you are applying for, and how much enthusiasm and dedication you have for it.
For Oxbridge, no, they do not care about the irrelevant ones.
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(:Becca(:
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Unless your course is vocational, I don't think they give a ****.
My form tutor was on at me for months about me not having enough extra curriculars. Did not make a difference.
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Ayshizzle
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Depends what you're aplying for, basically.
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win5ton
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(Original post by im so academic)
For Oxbridge, no, they do not care about the irrelevant ones.
How do you know this. I take it you are a student.
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Minerva
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(Original post by win5ton)
How do you know this. I take it you are a student.
S/he isn't, but s/he's right. Oxbridge care very little for extra-curriculars unless they are relevant to the course applied for, and not much even then.
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clarityy
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No it doesnt really matter, in my application/personal statement, i barely had any extra curricular stuff written down, except like "i play basketball" which i barely nowadays..
All the unis really wanna know is why you want to do that course and why you're interested in it.
They wanna see the passion and excitement like you said. If you have any extra curricular you can put it down but its not gonna separate you from other applicants.
In mine there wasnt much extra curricular yet i still got letters from all my choices including imperial ucl soton
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planetearth
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(Original post by clarityy)
No it doesnt really matter, in my application/personal statement, i barely had any extra curricular stuff written down, except like "i play basketball" which i barely nowadays..
All the unis really wanna know is why you want to do that course and why you're interested in it.
They wanna see the passion and excitement like you said. If you have any extra curricular you can put it down but its not gonna separate you from other applicants.
In mine there wasnt much extra curricular yet i still got letters from all my choices including imperial ucl soton
I suspected so, but many people have been telling me it actually makes a difference to your UCAS forms, and gives you UCAS points, which I highly doubt.
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username457532
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(Original post by planetearth)
Many people I know have been getting involved in extra-curricular activities in order to boost their applications to University.

We are also pressured at school to do this because it makes us more "rounded" individuals and apparently boosts our chances of getting into universities.

But does it really make a difference?

Surely what actually matters is how good you are at the course you are applying for, and how much enthusiasm and dedication you have for it.

EDIT: OK, well I personally want to apply for a Physics course at University, but I can't really think of any activities that would matter or help me in that respect.
For physics I had a Royal Navy engineering day, the practical investigation I did for my physics coursework, doing a rocketry competition and competing at the Space Olympics to talk about. I also wrote about the debating competition I took part in, my horse riding and volunteering at Rainbows and tried to relate all these things to why they'll make me a good physicist.

Of course, you don't need all these things, but try and find something about physics outside the curriculum: an outside speaker at a local uni, reading a book about physics you love (A Brief History of Time is not recommended because I believe many people claim to have read that - find something unusual) etc...
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username457532
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(Original post by im so academic)
For Oxbridge, no, they do not care about the irrelevant ones.
Just like your comment. Nowhere does he say he wants to apply to Oxbridge.
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paperclip
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(Original post by planetearth)
I suspected so, but many people have been telling me it actually makes a difference to your UCAS forms, and gives you UCAS points, which I highly doubt.
EC's don't give you ucas points but are extremely valuable!

When i went to Surrey (before dropping out for various reasons) i got on a course that's typical offer was BBB (now ABB, i think) with BCC (an offer of BBC); in my personal statement i had a job, a part of the sociology forum at my college (feedback and evaluation of the course to improve structure), and amnesty international activity. I didn't know anyone who had lower then BBB, though we didn't really discuss grades much so i'm not sure. I read my reference and it was excellent, but even if it doesn't decrease the grades they'll let you in with it does add something to you; who would you rather have, someone who can do well at their a-levels, and spend a good few hours volunteering, or someone whose done the same at a-levels and not much else? The personal statement will differentiate you, but there's only so much it can do.

Universities have student unions for a reason, volunteering/working or being otherwise active is a part of student life, and will help you get into university, then you'll find you do the same for jobs, so it's a lifetime thing tbh.
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Huskaris
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I don't think so. In fact I think they can hinder your application. I listed all my extra-curricular activities on my application and for some reason the police were called and now I'm on some sort of register or something.
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Nix-j-c
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I think if they're relevant to the uni course then it gives you a bit of background knowledge and shows you're enthusiastic. Like me I want to do something like marine biology and I do; scuba diving, have boating qualifications and am an active member of the marine conservation society . . .
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icyfreya
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I do loads of extracurriculars (not for the sake of 'boosting an application' but just because i enjoy them!)
flute & singing to grade 8, piano grade 5, speech & drama, in a music group everyday at school, school council chair, prefect, charities co-ordinator, horse riding & competing, weekend job at equestrian centre, arts award gold level, DofE, learning italian in my own time, and i still have something of a social life and am getting high As in my 4 subjects)
It is a bit annoying that it doesn't even get recognised, because surely if I can fit loads of other activities in and still do well in exams, doesn't that show i'm a better student than someone who gets the same exam results with lots of free time to study?
I guess it is the way it is but it feels a little unfair
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